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O'Shea: I never lost faith

EAMON O'Shea can't ethically say that, with 20 minutes to go against Galway in Thurles; with both Tipperary's season and more starkly, his managerial tenure slipping away, he was "the man of ultimate faith."

But by the same token of honesty, he stresses that he "wasn't as worried as other people in the crowd were."

For context, Tipp were six down in their first match since being beaten by Limerick in Semple Stadium, the first such occurrence since 1973.

"I knew that during week the players had really wanted to do well on that day," reflects O'Shea now, standing 70 minutes from an All-Ireland final with Kilkenny.

anxious

"I knew we had a good first half. I thought at half time we were in a really good position.

"The goals we gave away were similar and not good goals but I knew if we got a little bit of a break that the lads were still anxious to play and they would finish.

"We had time but I think the inner belief that they had, we knew that in the two or three weeks beforehand preparing for the game that if we were to go out, we would go out really working hard at it."

"I wasn't as concerned but I was wondering where we would get the break from. The break came from the desire."

"Where does that come from? I would think it comes from the year that we had, there's resilience there, there is good back-bone there. We have had our disappointments and I think interally it came from within themselves (the players).

"I didn't see the game as gone but I didn't foresee what was going to unfold."

Jonathan Glynn had enjoyed his own personal Mardi Gras at full-forward for Galway but what came next was as spectacular to watch as it was significant for Tipp.

They didn't just arrest the momentum; they charged it and locked it up in solitary confinement, roaring home with 2-10 to Galway's 0-1.

The alternative would have been unthinkable.

Tipp, in an unholy and undistinguished run going back two years, would have lost their fifth Championship match in succession.

And under O'Shea, the team's record in Championship matches might have read; played four, lost four.

guillotine

Throw in a couple of League final defeats to Kilkenny and you'd have to say O'Shea's only next move would have been to either step aside or await the guillotine.

"Probably, but as a manager you don't wake up in the morning and feel that 'am I particularly more fragile now than I was' and I mean that. I actually don't think that," he says, with a clear honesty.

"I had to make sure the players are in good shape, I was completely focused on making sure we were in a good place, in good shape and that I could explain what happened and could move on. You certainly don't think about yourself."

Now?

You'd be foolish to discard them from this All-Ireland race. Tipp are back again amongst the aristocracy.


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